Military Health IT Modernization: What Lies Ahead – Part 1

Toné Mason, Senior Analyst

Health technology and health services continue to represent a significant part of DOD spending, requiring acquisition planning to keep pace.

The next wave of deployments for MHS GENESIS, the new electronic health record for the Military Health System (MHS), is slated to begin in 2020. By 2023, GENESIS will be deployed across all MHS. Meanwhile, the Defense Health Agency (DHA) is taking a closer look at acquisition vehicles and focus areas. With limited funding and enterprise contracts essentially status quo through 2020, agency executives are encouraging vendors to prepare now for 2021.

These were some of the takeaways from the recent 2019 Defense Health Information Technology Symposium in Orlando, Fla. Among the sessions, Tom McCaffery, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, discussed the future of the Military Health System. Read more of this post

Network Optimization Is a Key Focus of DHS CISO

Lloyd McCoy Jr.

By Lloyd McCoy, Market Intelligence Manager

At a recent summit (sponsored by immixGroup), DHS CISO Paul Beckman, discussed challenges related to network optimization and outlined the steps the agency is taking to ensure both security and operational efficiency.

DHS is taking a close look at its Security Operations Center (SOC) optimization, from maturity standards to contracting. The agency is also looking for “network monetization” through the GSA’s Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) contract, in the form of regaining lost workforce hours through automation.

DHS has 16 “loosely federated security operation centers spread geographically throughout the entire country, with varying degrees of maturity.” Beckman’s challenge lies in how to bring them all up to the minimum baseline of security standards.

His first attempt, which focused on consolidation, “didn’t go over too well with my colleagues,” as neither cost effective nor beneficial, Beckman said. That’s when the effort shifted to optimization. Read more of this post

CBP Plans Its Move to the Cloud

Tom O'Keefe

By Tom O’Keefe, Consultant

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently released an RFI seeking industry input on a comprehensive cloud solution that may lead to an RFP later this year or in early 2020. Cloud is a big topic of conversation at federal agencies, but right now, its bark is much larger than its bite. We can expect that to change over the next few years. As this new RFI shows us, agencies are looking to transition significant portions of their environment to the cloud. While traditional IT delivery models may still hold their value, cloud is the future.

CBP is the largest component within the Department of Homeland Security, and how it manages cloud may be indicative of how some of the smaller DHS agencies may also do so. Kshemendra Paul, DHS’s cloud officer, has indicated that only 10% of DHS applications are currently in the cloud. Another 30% are in process or are slated to move to the cloud. Most of what has already been migrated are easy-to-migrate applications like email. Large, mission-critical applications are still being hosted on premise and are likely to be the last of the applications to migrate. CBP will likely use the contract that results from this RFI to accomplish this migration.

Read more of this post

DHS CISO Talks About Authentication, Supply Chain and Internet Regulation

By Lloyd McCoy, Market Intelligence ManagerLloyd McCoy Jr.

At a recent immixGroup vendor demo day, Paul Beckman, CISO at the Department of Homeland Security, touched on several technological challenges and frustrations that concern him – topics ranging from patching to supply chain risk to the inevitability of security regulations surrounding the internet.

“I want to get out of the patching business,” Beckman noted, asking, “why can’t I go to automatic updates?” “I don’t understand why we’re still relying on the selected pushing of patches,” he continued. A decade ago a service patch might have created the “blue screen of death” on machines, Beckman said, so that even today, “the ops side of the house is telling me, ‘what are we going to do if we get a bad patch?’”

“My response to them is that restore capability has matured greatly in the last decade. Something goes bad in the machine, push a button, you’re back to where you were at midnight last night.” Beckman added that technology has advanced to the point where the bad patch argument can be discounted and end points can go to automatic patching.
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Data Centricity: The Heart of Federal IT

Tom O'Keefe

By Tom O’Keefe, Consultant

If there’s been a common theme I’ve been hearing lately, it’s data centricity.

It’s a fundamental shift in federal IT that’s been building for a few years that could have broad implications for the types of technology investments agencies will look to make in the future. Federal agencies are beginning to realize that not only is data their core asset, they know they need to make start making investments in the stewardship and utilization of that data. It’s not enough to just have data or protect data, that data needs to be operationalized and transformed from data to knowledge to action – and support the execution of the mission.

At an AFCEA Bethesda breakfast I attended in March, speakers from the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security affirmed the increasing understanding within their agency of the value of the data they capture throughout the course of their operations. It’s fair to note here that agencies have been talking about making better use of their data for years, but much like we’ve seen the slow and steady progression to cloud adoption, I believe we’re seeing a steady progression toward realizing the importance of data and turning it into actionable intelligence to enable the mission. Read more of this post

Huge New DHS RFI Presents Opportunity for Technology Vendors

Tom O'Keefe

By Tom O’Keefe, Consultant

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security released a huge RFI for Information Technology (IT) Compute and Storage Modernization, Cloud Migration, and Data Center Optimization that needs to be on your radar. At $6.8 billion, DHS has the largest IT portfolio in the civilian government, so the funding available for a project of this magnitude at the department is likely to be significant, which means there may be extensive opportunity for technology vendors.

It’s also important to note that only 26 percent of DHS applications have thus far migrated to the cloud or are in the process – so there’s still a lot of work left to do.

Here are some of the key technologies DHS is pursuing in this new RFI:

  • Embracing automation, DevOpsSec, and optimized resource utilization – to improve efficiency and agility to minimize data center and other infrastructure footprints
  • Moving to cloud-native shared services – to modernize applications and adopting a vendor agnostic multi-cloud approach to spur innovation
  • Making increased use of data analytics technologies – to improve cybersecurity and decision making

Read more of this post

Behold the New Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency

By Kevin Shaker, Consultant

For a long time now, we have been talking about a change in the mission scope and organizational structure of the National Protection and Programs Directorate, the agency largely responsible for securing federal networks and protecting critical infrastructure. But now, it seems that the 2017 bill to rename, reorganize and solidify its role at the department has finally happened.

The agency has officially been renamed the Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency or CISA. The president signed into law the CISA Act of 2018 on November 16, 2018. The bill had been looming over Congress for some time.

Here are a few things industry will want to know about the agency’s new facelift:

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